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Woman at home enrolling in Medi-Cal.

Medi-Cal Expands Coverage to More Californians

As of January 1, 2024, California residents aged 26-49 may now qualify for full Medi-Cal Health coverage, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. Under this expansion, an estimated 764,000 people are expected to become eligible. 

The requirements for enrollment include: 

  1. Full-time residency in California. This applies to people who live and plan to continue living in the state, and those looking for work in the state.
  2. Belonging to a family whose income adheres to eligibility guidelines. For example, a family with two adults would have to earn $27,214.00 per year or less to qualify. 

Importantly, enrolling in Medi-Cal will not affect immigration status , as it is not considered a public charge. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizen Immigration Services exclude health, housing, and food resources from public charge determination.  

Continued Expansion

Medi-Cal has been expanded gradually since 2014 covering more and more vulnerable populations. A previous expansion in May 2022 was to cover adults over age 50, regardless of immigration status.

As of September 2023, about 359,000 older adults enrolled under the new policy. That’s much more than the 235,000 who were expected to enroll.

Medi-Cal’s Scope

Undocumented immigrants are excluded from the state’s health care marketplace, Covered California. Many also lack coverage from their employers. Through the continued expansion of Medi-Cal, those who are eligible will now have access to:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Mental health
  • Medications

We Can Help You Apply

AltaMed can answer any questions you have about Medi-Cal and can even help you apply. Call the AltaMed Medi-Cal Assistance Hotline at (877) 462-2582.

Get started with AltaMed

See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

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AltaMed Urgent Care

When to Go to Urgent Care vs. The ER

When you or a loved one is experiencing a health emergency, it can be difficult to know when it’s best to go to an urgent care center or the emergency room (ER). That’s why it’s important to know the appropriate choice for every situation.

When to Visit Urgent Care

According to the Urgent Care Association of America, more than 89 million people visit urgent care centers each year.

If your illness or injury is not life-threatening emergency and your doctor’s office is closed (nights, weekends, holidays), and/or you believe the situation cannot wait, urgent care is your best option. Urgent care centers have the equipment to handle serious but non-life-threatening emergencies and provide high-quality care.

Urgent care centers are the best call for conditions like:

  • Breathing problems
  • Skin conditions
  • Severe cold, cough and flu
  • Sprains and strains
  • Back, muscle and body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Broken bones that have not broken the skin
  • Minor cuts or rashes
  • Animal bites
  • High fevers
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Urinary infections

With private insurance, visiting an urgent care center will cost you more than seeing your regular doctor, but can save you hundreds of dollars (or more) over an ER visit. AltaMed has a network of in-house and affiliated urgent care centers throughout Southern California. Find one near you now.

As an AltaMed patient, you can also access immediate telehealth appointments through AltaMed Now, plus schedule and manage routine care services, such as general health checkups, though MyAltaMed.

When to Go to the ER

The emergency room is for life threatening emergencies — the staff and equipment are there to provide life-saving care for severe cases. For life-threatening medical situations, you can call 911 or visit an emergency room. Most hospital emergency rooms are open 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

The ER is the correct destination if you or a loved one is experiencing:

  • A severe injury or major trauma, including a severe cut or burn
  • Overdose
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A seizure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Dizziness and loss of coordination
  • A head injury
  • Broken bones that puncture the skin
  • Heavy bleeding

Depending on what kind of insurance you have, a trip to the ER can cost you thousands of dollars, so be sure to reserve these visits for life-threatening emergencies. However, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms or conditions above, do not hesitate! Go to the ER.

Keep It Simple

Urgent care services are not a replacement for primary care. When you need routine medical care your primary care doctor should always be your first option. They know you best and will ensure that your care is consistent. However, urgent care and the ER are available to you for those times when you are experiencing more sudden or serious medical conditions.

Obviously, if you have a severe cut, are bleeding, or you are suffering a significant bodily injury, GET TO THE ER, STAT! In less dire situations, AltaMed has you covered through our vast network of urgent care locations. If you need help figuring out the right option for you, call us at (888) 499-9303.

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AltaMed PACE

The Perks of AltaMed PACE

For years, “senior care” meant life in a nursing home. Today, however, tens of thousands of older adults across the country maintain their independence thanks to the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE.

AltaMed is one of the nation’s largest PACE providers. We offer essential care that allows participants to stay healthy and continue living comfortably in their own home. Our 11 PACE centers throughout Los Angeles and Orange County serve more than 4,400 seniors each year.

Beyond all-inclusive health care, PACE uplifts seniors with services that offer joy and peace of mind. Here’s everything you can expect.

Health Services

PACE was originally created to meet the needs of seniors with complex health conditions that require numerous trips to the doctor and other medical professionals. By having multiple services under one roof, participants can enjoy more efficient and higher-quality care. It also takes some of the pressure off caregivers and family members.

At each PACE center, services include:

  • Nursing
  • Personal care
  • Physical/occupational therapy
  • Prescription/pharmacy services
  • Recreational therapy
  • Social services
  • Meals and nutrition counseling
  • Audiology (hearing)
  • Social work
  • Dentistry
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry (feet)
  • Medical care
  • Speech therapy
  • Home health care
  • Respite care

A Team Approach

PACE is much more than adult day care. Staff members are committed to helping participants thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally. Each participant has a team of staff and specialists offering personalized attention on a regular basis.

Upon registration, each participant gets a detailed course of action that’s designed to keep them healthy and strong, while addressing any current or potential health risks.

In addition to doctors and nurses that assess physical and mental well-being, social workers can help find community resources to make life easier for participants and their families.

Facilities

AltaMed PACE facilities provide exceptional care and a comfortable environment for participants. They are modern, clean, and operate using the latest medical equipment. They are also located in the heart of the communities they serve.

Transportation

PACE transportation eliminates the need to find a ride from family, friends, or third-party services. It helps participants feel more independent while providing an opportunity for daily socializing outside of the home. 

As part of their schedule, participants are picked up from their residence and then dropped back off at the end of the day. Those who require additional support may also receive transportation and a helpful escort to get them to specialist appointments.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

Activities like walking, playing with grandchildren, and even getting out of bed should feel comfortable. For those experiencing pain, PACE has two different services to keep you moving forward:

  • Physical therapy (PT) PT is the practice of restoring proper movement throughout the body. The goal is to make it easy and pain-free to move through daily life by working on strength and flexibility.
  • Occupational therapy (OT)  OT is about helping to develop or improve the skills and confidence needed for daily living.

In-House Pharmacies

Complex health conditions may require taking multiple medications, which can be hard to track. Having medications available at PACE centers simplifies everything. Our pharmacists can keep participants current on their prescriptions and watch for potential drug interactions. Plus, staff will provide refill reminders.

Activities

Joy is an important part of living an active, healthy life. At PACE centers, participants can try a wide variety of activities. All are designed to encourage socialization, keep the brain sharp, and be fun for any skill level.

Participants can pick up a new hobby like knitting, board games, cards, bingo, or video games on a Wii. PACE participants can also attend occasional off-site field trips.

PACE activities give people the chance to try new things and flex mental muscles. Attendance is always optional, but highly encouraged.

Meals and Nutrition Counseling

PACE participants receive meals that account for their health and dietary needs, and are also fresh, delicious, and culturally familiar. They also have access to personalized nutrition counseling so they can make the right choices about meals at home.

Social Services

Good health is much more than just how the body feels — it includes having access to comprehensive services that address a variety of personal needs.

PACE social workers can help participants find and apply for federal, state, and community programs such as financial assistance, food benefits, in-home services, disability, advocacy, and more. 

Home Health Care

Qualified participants receive house visits from PACE caregivers who can lend a hand with tasks ranging from cooking and cleaning to personal hygiene and dressing. The care team will determine the level of help needed.

PACE professionals assisting with these essential tasks leaves more time for participants and their families to have fun.

PACE and Your Family

If you have a family member who could benefit from enhanced care services, AltaMed can help. Under one roof, you’ll find doctors, specialists, meals, transportation, activities, and more to keep your loved one healthy and independent. Get started by clicking here or call: (855) 252-PACE or (855) 252-7223.

Medi-Cal Expands Coverage to More Californians